All enterprises in India are not public enterprises. There is mixed economy in India and the private as well as the public sector contribute to the development of our economy. However, there are only some selected areas in which the government establishes its enterprises for a balanced development of the economy and promote public welfare. There are several areas where huge investment of capital is necessary but the margin of profit is either meager or it can be obtained only after a long period as in case of generation and supply of electricity, machine building, construction of dams, etc.
The private businessmen hesitate to establish their enterprises in these areas but they cannot be neglected in public interest. As such these enterprises are established and run by the government. Similarly the public enterprises also help in balanced regional development by promoting industries in every part of the country.
For example, with the establishment of Bhilai Steel Plant in Madhya Pradesh, several new small industries have come up in that state. Industrial progress is of utmost importance for the development of the country and for this, it is necessary that some basic industries like oil, coal, gas, iron, steel, production of heavy electrical goods, etc., are to be fully developed.
Public enterprises give impetus to the development of these basic industries and also help in the development of the private sector with their products and services. There are some industries which require heavy capital investment on account of technical reasons. Electricity, power, production of gas, heavy machinery tools, production of telephone etc., are such industries.
The development of public enterprises also prevents concentration of economic power in the hands of an individual, or a group of individuals. Not only that, in our country economic inequalities are increasing. Poor are becoming poorer and the rich more rich. The public enterprises can help in reducing inequalities with the help of various policies like utilising the earned profits in public welfare activities and by selling raw material to the small scale industries at lower prices.
It is also necessary for the economic progress of the country that industries which can decrease imports and increase exports are only promoted. Public enterprises also ensure promotion of such industries.
There is an old belief that the benefits derived from the nature should be made available to all without any distinction. The public enterprises ensure that land, oil, coal, gas, water, electricity and other necessary resources are made available to all at fair prices.
The security of the country is supreme. There should be no compromise in ensuring this. The production of fighter aeroplanes, arms and ammunition, etc, connected with the security of the country is put under the domain of Public Enterprises for the purpose.
Thus, public welfare, planned economic development of the country, regional balance, import substitution and checking concentration of economic powers are the major goals achieved through public enterprises.